Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Chaitra Sankranti, Pahela Baishakh in rural Bangladesh

Most communities in rural Bangladesh celebrate Chaitra Sankranti and Pahela Baishakh following the age-old traditions. The celebrations bring together people, irrespective of their creed and social differences.
Usually rural people arrange weeklong programmes to celebrate the end of a year and the beginning of another. The preparations start a month before Chaitra Sankranti and Pahela Baishakh. An interesting aspect of these festivals is that Chaitra Sankranti has more colour than Pahela Baishakh.
The festivities begin with ‘Gajoner Mela’ and ‘Charok’ — two major elements of Chaitra Sankranti celebration. Among Bengalis and other ethnic minorities (also known as indigenous people) the nature of the celebrations may vary, but the spirit is the same: well wishes, merriment and festivity.
Events usually included in such festivals can be categorised in three groups: ritual based performances, customs and traditions, and entertainment.
Various ritualistic performances reflecting the age-old belief of rural people are important aspects of the Chaitra Sankranti festivity. In the rural areas, the Hindus perform several ritualistic art forms such as Kanta Bhanga-Hajrapita, Ashtogaan and Gourakkho Puja throughout the Bengali month of Chaitra, particularly on Chaitra Shankranti.
On the eve of Chaitra Sankranti, Sanyasis demonstrate their ability to endure extreme pain and discomfort by piercing their bodies with sharp objects.
Sanyasis of the Baishna Kapali Sampraday (a Hindu cult) believe that the ritualistic Hajrapita-Kanta Bhanga on the Chaitra Sankranti eve has the effect of exorcism— believing that it would free them of evil in the coming year.
With painted bodies, and wearing long hair and carrying tridents and other sharp objects, they give a horrifying and hypnotic performance by climbing on top of khejur trees and smashing thorns with their bare toes.
Ashtogaan is another kind of ritualistic kirtan-based performance practised throughout the month of Chaitra by the Hindu communities in the rural areas of southwestern Bangladesh. Ashtogaan highlights the essence of divine love for humanity through narrating the myths of the four great epochs in Hinduism: Satya Jug, Treta Jug, Dwapar Jug and Koli Jug. Leela (feats celebrating divinity) of Lakshmi-Narayan, Ram-Sita, Radha-Krishna and Gaor-Nitai are performed as representations of the four ages.
The artistes involved in these performances narrate Leelas with painted faces outside houses. During the narration, artistes enact the roles of Narayan, Ram, Krishna Lakshmi, Sita, Radha and other divine beings. The tune is similar to that of kirtan. Typical instruments like harmonium, dholok, kartal and bansi are used. The choir presents a part of the performance at one house and then moves to another house – a practice which can be likened to travelling theatre.
Another type of ritualistic performance is Gourakkho Puja which is usually performed at the cowsheds on the Pahela Baishakh eve by ringing bells and chanting for the well being of the cattle owned by both Hindus and Muslims in the South-West part of the country. The tune of performance is also similar to traditional kirtan.
Such celebration of the Chaitra Sangkranti and Pahela Baishakh, one after the other, creates opportunities for the artisans to sell handicrafts at the ‘Chaitra Sankranti Mela’. The mela is the most colourful event on Chaitra Shankranti and Pahela Baishakh. People from all communities participate in the festivities.
Though this type of mela is popularly known as Baishakhi mela in the urban areas, in the villages these fairs begin on Chaitra Shankranti eve and continue for a week. They are also known as ‘Gajoner Mela’.
Agricultural products, traditional handicrafts, handmade toys, as well as food and sweets are sold there. These events also provide entertainment — with singers, dancers and jatra. Snake charmers display their prowess over hooded cobras.
A highlight of Pahela Baishakh is to open a halkhata (a new book of accounts), which has been a tradition since the times of the Mughal Emperor Akbar. Initially it was a financial affair but now halkhata has become an inseparable custom of Baishakhi celebrations.
The traders and businessmen close their old account books and open new ones. They invite their customers to share sweets and renew their business ties. Traders of all communities observe the day.
Music is definitely the main attractions during the period presented in melas and at times by a ghat or under a big tree. Alongside baul songs, traditional artistes perform other folk genres such as pallapalli gaan, jari gaan and Gazir gaan.
The rural people also enthusiastically participate in several traditional sports like lathikhela, ha-du-du and dariyabanda. Professional lathials display their prowess and mettle in this game where the players combat with bamboo sticks, swords and spears with the beats of dhol and kansha.
Indigenous groups living across the country also celebrate Chaitra Sangkranti and Pahela Baishakh.

 

Courtesy of New Age

Related News

Nazrul’s 125th birth anniversary today

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Today is the 125th birth anniversary of national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. The birth anniversary of Nazrul, widely known as the rebel poet, is observed in Bangladesh on Jyaishtha 11, according to the Bangla calendar. Nazrul, a poet, lyricist, composer, playwright, novelist, revolutionary and journalist, sang equally for freedom and love. ... Read more

Mrinal Sen’s birth anniversary today

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Today is the 101st anniversary of the birth of the legendary Bengali filmmaker Mrinal Sen. Born on May 14, 1923 in Faridpur, Mrinal Sen moved to Kolkata to study and became involved in left-wing politics, cultural activities, and film production. One of the most politically active filmmakers, he, after having studied ... Read more

Zainul Abedin’s 109th birth anniv today

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Today is the 109th anniversary of the birth of Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin. On the occasion, different organisations and admirers will pay tribute to Zainul Abedin placing floral wreaths on his grave on the Dhaka University premises in the morning. Zainul is best known for his sketches of the Bengal famine of ... Read more

Manik Bandopadhyay’s death anniversary today

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Today is the 67th anniversary of the death of Bengali novelist and short story writer Manik Bandopadhyay. Born on May 19, 1908 to Harikar Bandopadhyay and Niroda Devi in Dumka, a small town in Santal Parganas district in the state of Bihar, British India, Manik Bandopadhyay was the fifth of the ... Read more

Qayyum Chowdhury ’s death anniversary today

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Today is the ninth anniversary of the death of acclaimed artist Qayyum Chowdhury. Born on March 9, 1932 in Feni, Qayyum Chowdhury’s works delve deep into folk, rustic life and traditions. Fish, flowers, women, birds and greenery are recurring objects on his canvas. He graduated from the Government Institute of Arts ... Read more

Festival honoring cultural diversity called “Sadhu Mela.”

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com The Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy organize “Sadhu Mela” on November 28 in a colorful demonstration of cultural diversity carrying on the custom that dates back to 2019. Taking place on the day of Fakir Lalon Shai’s Disappearance Day on every full moon, the event has become a noteworthy regular event in the ... Read more

‘Quarantine’ exhibition by artist Mahbubur Rahman begins today

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com The opening ceremony of the exhibition comprising multi-dimensional artworks of artist Mahbubur Rahman will be held today at 5 pm. The exhibit titled, “Quarantine”, has been organised at the Kamrul Hasan Exhibition (level 1) of Bengal Shilpalay in Dhanmondi. Professor Bulbul Osman, women and human rights activist Khushi Kabir and artist ... Read more

SM Sultan’s 29th death anniversary today

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Today is the 29th anniversary of the death of renowned artist SM Sultan. Different organisations, including Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy, SM Sultan Foundation and Narail district administration will pay tribute to SM Sultan organising daylong programmes at different venues in Narail’s Sultan Smriti Sangrahasala, Shishu Swarga and Zila Shilpakala Academy. Born on ... Read more

‘Tasher Desh’ staged at Scholastica school

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com With immense zeal and fervour, Scholastica Senior Campus, Mirpur staged the splendid play ‘Tasher Desh’, a masterpiece by the revered poet Rabindranath Tagore. The school’s STM hall served as the majestic environment for this two-day annual drama festival, culminating on a Friday. The talented students, members of the esteemed drama, music, ... Read more

Poet Asad Chowdhury passes away

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Noted poet Asad Chowdhury died of old-age complications while undergoing treatment at a hospital in Toronto, Canada on Thursday. He was 80. The poet ‘died at 3:03am Canada time’ and ‘at 1:03pm Bangladesh time’, the poet’s son-in-law Nadim Iqbal posted on facebook Thursday afternoon. The poet died at the Lakeridge Health ... Read more

Shilpakala inaugurates nationwide puppet festival

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com A twelve day long puppetry festival titled “Gonojagoron er Putul Natya Utshob” inaugurated on Friday. Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy has organised the nationwide festival . According to BSA, puppetry is one of the most effective means of folk education. Through its presentation and stylistic approach over the ages, puppetry has played a ... Read more

SD Burman’s birth anniversary today

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Today is the 117th anniversary of the birth of legendary singer and music director Sachin Dev Burman. SD Burman, born in 1906 in Cumilla, composed playbacks for over 100 films. Leading singers of the Indian subcontinent like Lata Mangeskhar, Mohammad Rafi, Geeta Dutta, Manna Dey, Asha Bosle, Mukesh and Talat Mahmud ... Read more

Shilpakala Academy organizes exhibition of artist Ismail Chowdhury’s artwork

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy organized a solo painting exhibition of painter Ismail Chowdhury. Painter Ismail Chowdhury has participated in more than half a hundred solo and joint exhibitions in various countries including Bangladesh, Japan, USA, Italy, Nepal, and Bhutan, reads a press release. The elite and talented artists of the country have ... Read more

Feroza Begum’s 9th death anniv today

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Today is the ninth anniversary of the death of the legendary Nazrul Sangeet singer Feroza Begum. Feroza Begum was born on July 28, 1926 to Khan Bahadur Mohammad Ismail and Begum Kawakabonnessa. Drawn to music at an early age, Feroza Begum started her formal music education under the tutelage of Chitta ... Read more

Bhupen Hazarika’s birth anniv today

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Today is the 97th anniversary of the birth of eminent singer, lyricist and musician Bhupen Hazarika, who is still popular among music lovers in Bangladesh. He conquered the heart of thousands in Bangladesh rendering timeless songs, including Manush Manusher Janya, Ami Ek jajabar, Amra Korbo joy, Bistirna Duparer, Megh Thom Thom ... Read more

IUB organises musical evening to celebrate Rabindra-Nazrul Jayanti

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com A musical evening was organised at the Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) campus in Dhaka’s Bashundhara Residential Area on Thursday (27 July) to mark the birth anniversaries of Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam. Renowned singers Adity Mohsin and Bijon Chandra Mistry performed Rabindra Sangeet and Nazrul Geeti respectively. IUB’s Kazi Nazrul ... Read more

Dhaka Theater to celebrate golden jubilee this year

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Marking the golden jubilee of one of the prolific theatre troupes of the country, Dhaka Theater will celebrate its 50 years on July 29. Established in 1973 by freedom fighter and noted cultural personality Nasir Uddin Yusuff, along with some brave freedom fighters, the troupe earned acclaim in both nationally and ... Read more

Sourav Chowdhury’s 5th solo exhibition underway at AFD

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com The 5th solo art exhibition of Sourav Chowdhury titled “Eternal Existence” has begun at Alliance Française de Dhaka. The inaugural ceremony of the exhibition was held on Friday, 21 July 2023 at 6 pm at La Galerie. Eminent artist Prof. Rafiqun Nabi, Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of France in Bangladesh, ... Read more

Ten Years After Rana Plaza show opens at Drik Gallery on Friday

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Ten Years After Rana Plaza, an immersive exhibition marking ten years of the Rana Plaza disaster through interdisciplinary works on the subject by Bangladeshi photographer and filmmaker, Ismail Ferdous, is set to begin on Friday (21 July) at Drik Gallery, Dhaka, said a press release. Following the tragic collapse of the ... Read more

Bangla Academy pays tribute to Dr Muhammad Shahidullah

Cultural Desk : dhakamirror.com Bangla Academy paid tribute to educationist, writer, philologist and linguist Dr Muhammad Shahidullah organising a commemorative programme at its Syed Waliullah Conference Room on Tuesday. The academy organised the programme marking the 138th anniversary of the birth of Dr Muhammad Shahidullah, which was also streamed on the Facebook page of the ... Read more